By Sherrod Brown
Recently, I visited East Palestine where a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous materials derailed leading to a large explosion and fire. I went to listen to the people that this disaster has hurt the most: the residents of East Palestine and the surrounding communities.
I spoke with residents who are finally able to return home after testing. Others still can’t return home and told me about the high hotel bills they’re facing. Throughout Ohio, people are worried about the air they breathe and the water they drink. No one should have to worry about that.
Since the day of the derailment, my office and I have been exploring every option to help these Ohioans. It’s why I sent letters to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Transportation Safety Board, and Centers for Disease Control calling for action in East Palestine and it’s why I am going to work with the Department of Transportation and in Congress to make these trains safer and improve working conditions.
Norfolk Southern and all other railroad companies spent billions on stock buybacks while reducing their workforce, cutting back on the workers that inspect railcars and do repairs.
Going forward we need new rules for shipping hazardous materials that prevent future derailments involving these potentially dangerous trains and we can’t let lobbyists stand in the way.
No family should face the horror of fleeing their homes because hazardous materials have spilled or caught fire in their community.
For the people of East Palestine, we are going to get answers and accountability. I’ve always said that Ohioan’s know what they need best and I’m here to make sure that the people of East Palestine get the resources that they need.
If you are a resident in the East Palestine area and would like to request air or water testing at your home, call the residential re-entry request hotline at (330) 849-3919. For more information, visit my website at https://www.brown.senate.gov/help-for-residents-in-the-east-palestine-area.